Posts In The “Destinations” Category

Death of an Impala

Death of an Impala

While on a recent safari at Lion Sands Ivory Lodge in Sabi Sands Game Reserve, South Africa, we watched an African rock python swallow an impala. The opportunity to watch a python swallow its prey is rare and ours was even more so, in that the typical prey for the python is much smaller animals…

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2023 Summary

2023 Summary

In addition to more adventuring in the Pacific Northwest, this year we continued the “filling in the gaps” tour and visited several places that we either didn’t get to, or couldn’t reach, on our around-the world trip on Dirona. And we’re happy to report that Spitfire the wonder cat reached his 20th birthday this year,…

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November in Seattle

November in Seattle

November brought winter weather to Seattle, with heavy rainfall and temperatures that brushed around freezing. We escaped the cold weather, but not the rain, on an Amazon River cruise later in the month. Temperatures there were in the high 90s F (32 C), with the sporadic downpours typical of the tropics. Preparing for the trip…

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Amazon River Cruise

Amazon River Cruise

The Amazon River is the largest river in the world by discharge volume and second longest in the world (after the Nile). Originating in Peru, the Amazon flows 4,000 miles (6,400 km) eastward drain into to the Atlantic Ocean in Brazil. The river has two seasons, high water and low water, with a 35-45-ft (10.6-13.8m)…

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The Boys in the Boat

The Boys in the Boat

The #1 New York Times-bestselling The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown chronicles the true story of Joe Rantz and his working-class teammates on the University of Washington rowing crew who, against all odds, competed for the gold medal at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. The book was recently made into a movie…

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Fresh Hop Season

Fresh Hop Season

October is the height of fresh hop beer season in the Pacific Northwest. We didn’t plan a fresh hop tasting tour to Ballard this year, but ended up doing a small one with a tasting flight of fresh hop beers at Fremont Brewing in Ballard after a late Friday afternoon appointment nearby. While Ballard remains…

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Back to Warm Weather

Back to Warm Weather

The Pacific Northwest often has wonderfully clear fall weather, with temperatures warm enough to eat outside, and this year was no exception. Except for a couple of days of heavy rain, we experienced September temperatures that often were above 70°F (21°C) and enjoyed many meals outside under a cloudless blue sky. And the wonderful weather…

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Victoria

Victoria

In late September, we made a long-planned weekend trip by floatplane to Victoria to celebrate the 70th birthday of James’ uncle Neil. We spent two nights in our home town, exploring the city, visiting old haunts and new places, and catching up with the Hamilton clan. Taking a Kenmore Air floatplane from South Lake Union…

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Reykjanes Penninsula

Reykjanes Penninsula

The Reykjanes Peninsula, also known as the Southern Peninsula, juts into the North Atlantic Ocean from Iceland’s southwest corner. Lying directly over the Mid Atlantic Ridge, one of the larges tectonic plate boundaries in the world, the area is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity. Recently, much of the peninsula is under volcano watch after…

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Reyjkavik

Reyjkavik

Along with Greenland, Iceland also has been high on our list of places to visit for its spectacular natural beauty. We expected to spend several weeks touring the country when we eventually brought Dirona back to the US via the “Viking Route”, from the Faroe Islands to Newfoundland via Iceland and Greenland. In the end,…

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On Board Le Commandant Charcot

On Board Le Commandant Charcot

Ponant Cruise Lines strives to offer a premium service with formal dinners and an on-board dress-code. That’s just not our style, but the once-in-a-lifetime experience of being able to stand at the North Pole, convinced us we could put up with the rest, and we were excited to book a trip on Le Commandant Charcot….

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Greenland

Greenland

Greenland has long been high on our list of places to visit. We love high latitudes and wild, untamed places. Our initial plan for eventually returning to North America from Europe on Dirona was to travel the “Viking Route” from the Faroe Islands to Newfoundland via Iceland and Greenland. We didn’t have a firm timeframe…

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From Hot to Cold

From Hot to Cold

August brought more warm and sunny weather to Seattle, and the return of NFL season. We attended two Seattle Seahawks preseason NFL games, and a couple of Seattle Mariners baseball games, all in T-shirt weather. And we had fabulous weather for a hiking trip to Washington’s North Cascades National Park, known as the American Alps…

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Svalbard

Svalbard

We got our first taste of Svalbard back in 2018 when Dirona was in Tromso, Norway and we flew to Longyearbyen for three nights. We really enjoyed the raw beauty of Svalbard, and wanted to see more. Our North Pole itinerary aboard Le Commandant Charcot didn’t include spending time in Svalbard, however, as we’d be…

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The North Pole

The North Pole

Despite dozens of attempts, the first undisputed expedition to reach the North Pole was Roald Amundsen’s team in 1926, flying over in the airship Norge.  Thirty years later, the submarine USS Nautilus became the first vessel to cross the pole, by travelling entirely under the ice. A year later the submarine USS Skate broke through…

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Le Commandant Charcot

Le Commandant Charcot

Le Commandat Charcot, owned by French cruise ship operator Ponant, is the most capable non-nuclear icebreaker in the world. While the term icebreaker typically connotes a military or research vessel, long on capability, but short on comfort, the Le Commandant Charcot has plenty of both. Launched in 2021, the 492 ft (150 m) LNG-powered ship…

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Paris

Paris

After many months of anticipation, the departure date for our trip to the North Pole aboard Le Commandant Charcot finally had arrived. We would be flying from Seattle to Paris, spending a day there, then taking a charter flight the following morning to Svalbard, where we would board the ship. Packing for the trip was…

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Ballard Locks

Ballard Locks

The Chinook salmon, commonly known as “Kings” or “Tyee” (Chinook jargon for chief), is the largest of the salmon and the iconic species of the Salish Sea. They typically grow to 3 feet (0.9 m) long with a weight of 30 lbs (13.6 kg), but can reach 4.9 ft (1.5 m) and 129 lbs (58.5…

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